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5.238 Char Kway Teow




-Cycle 5, Item 238-
31 (Sun) August 2014

-Singaporean-
Char Kway Teow

3.5

at Tao Yuan

-Malate, Manila-

with various WHO WPRO staff

Char kway teow is a Singaporean/Malaysian/Indonesian noodle dish.  Consists of wide flat rice noodles ("kway teow"), stir-fried over high heat to impart flame-licked charred flavor (coincidentally, "char"), with soy sauce and other condiments, plus sprouts, scallion, scrambled egg, typically seafood but sometimes chicken, beef, etc.  Essentially the same thing as Chinese hofun/hofan, which likely shares the same origin.  While popular in many countries, char kway teow is often referred to as a national dish in Singapore, a classic example of hawker cuisine.  A prior post had featured Malaysian-style version of the dish, but it was so bad that I hadn't bothered to explain (see generally 5.114 Penang Fried Kuay Teow).



Taro Basket with Seafood (3.5)--the deep-fried taro basket had a great crispy-on-the-inside/mushy-on-the-outside contrasting texture.

Szechuan-Style Spicy Beef (1.0)--greasy, flavorless, the one miss of the meal.

 Spareribs with Taosi (black beans) (3.25) + Har Gao (2.5)


Impromptu dinner with staff who live in the area.  

The venue was Tao Yuan (see generally 5.088 Chili Crab).

Very sorely disappointed across the board by my first experience at this restaurant, I was very pleasantly surprised this time to discover that certain dishes can be exquisite.  The best dish of the meal was the char kway teow, perfectly seasoned, perfectly charred, abundant fresh seafood, best noodle dish that I've had in the Philippines thus far--even better than the one that I had in Singapore (see generally 4.267 Chicken Rice).  Overall, the meal was excellent.

This gives me an idea of what I might do after completing TERRP....

----

ADDENDUM

10 (Fri) April 2015

I've eaten my way through this restaurant, every last (available) item on the menu (see generally 6.095 Done).

5.237 TERRP 79(4.05) Taters: Quarter Pound Churkey Burger Meal

-Cycle 5, Item 237-
30 (Sat) August 2014

-American-
Quarter Pound Churkey Burger Meal

1.25

from Taters (Robinsons Place) [takeout]

in Robinsons Movieworld

-Ermita, Manila-

solo (with EK)

TERRP (Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place), Phase 4.

In Manila since January, here through October under the current contract, living above Robinsons Place, I've been eating my way through the mall.  As far as I know, nobody has ever done anything like this, my unique contribution to the city's food/blog scene.  I've tried all the restaurants on the 1st floor (currently 36, down from the initial 40), the 2nd floor (currently 8, down from the initial 14), and the 3rd floor (currently 30).  And finally, to finish out this godforsaken project, I'm now on the 4th floor (currently 11).  After tonight, 6 more to go--the home stretch--I can taste the end.


This is the 79th in the series, the 5th on the 4th floor.  Adriatico Wing.

All restaurants on the 1st floor:

- 39(1.36) Apr 2 / Cabalen (Filipino) (see 5.087 Buffet Scraps) / 1.5 / $$

All restaurants on the 2nd floor:

- 74(2.08) Aug 19 / Jack's Loft (Western) (see 5.226 Calamares Caesar) (Italian) / 0.5 / $$

All restaurants on the 3rd floor:

- 73(3.30) Aug 18 / Gerry's Grill (Filipino) (see 5.225 Pinakbet) / 2.0 / $$

Previously covered restaurants on the 4th floor:

- 75(4.01) Aug 26 / Pancake House (American/Filipino) (see 5.233 Best Taco in Town x 2) (Mexican)  / 2.5 / $$
- 76(4.02) Aug 27 / Karate Kid (Japanese/American) (see 5.234 Beef Teriyaki Bento) (Japanese) / 2.25 / $
- 77(4.03) Aug 28 / Max's Restaurant (Filipino) (see 5.235 Fried Chicken) / 2.75 / $$
- 78(4.04) Aug 29 / Chowking (Chinese) (see 5.236 Chinese-Style Fried Chicken...) / 2.5 / $

At Movieworld in Robinsons Place, the multiplex doesn't itself have a concession stand...

... requiring customers to bring in their own goodies from outside vendors.

But they're wearing hats.

Taters is an American-style snack shop chain.  Founded in the Philippines.  Over 20 branches throughout Metro Manila, most located in malls next to cinemas.  Offers varieties of popcorn, beverages, hotdogs, burgers, all cooked/re-heated on the premises.  

A quiet Saturday night, I felt like watching a movie.  I watched The Purge: Anarchy.


The meal was miss and hit.  The Churkey Burger was crap.  The patty seemed to be comprised predominantly of extender, mushy, barely any discernible trace of either chicken or turkey--I'm assuming, on the basis of absolutely nothing, that "churkey" is a portmanteau of "chicken" + "turkey."  The bun was too big.  I ordered the quarter pound version not because I wanted big but rather because it would come with "fresh vegetables," which turned out to be a sliver of tomato and single leaf of lettuce. The burger came laced with a human hair (despite the hats).  However, the fries were quite good, thick and crispy.  Nevertheless, I'll stick with the popcorn for future shows.

So long as I'm on the 4th floor, which includes a tattoo parlor, I may as well get inked up--these are the first strokes on what I look forward to turning into a full canvas.

5.236 TERRP 78(4.04) Chowking: Chinese-Style Fried Chicken 1-Piece Meal

-Cycle 5, Item 236-
29 (Fri) August 2014

-Chinese-
Chinese-Style Fried Chicken 1-Piece Meal

2.5

Chowking (Robinsons Place)

-Ermita, Manila-

solo

TERRP (Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place), Phase 4.

In Manila since January, here through October under the current contract, living above Robinsons Place, I've been eating my way through the mall.  As far as I know, nobody has ever done anything like this, my unique contribution to the city's food/blog scene.  I've tried all the restaurants on the 1st floor (currently 36, down from the initial 40), the 2nd floor (currently 8, down from the initial 14), and the 3rd floor (currently 30).  And finally, to finish out this godforsaken project, I'm now on the 4th floor (currently 11).  After tonight, 10 more to go--the home stretch--I can taste the end.


This is the 75th in the series, the 1st on the 4th floor.  Padre Faure Wing.

All restaurants on the 1st floor:

- 39(1.36) Apr 2 / Cabalen (Filipino) (see 5.087 Buffet Scraps) / 1.5 / $$

All restaurants on the 2nd floor:

- 74(2.08) Aug 19 / Jack's Loft (Western) (see 5.226 Calamares Caesar) (Italian) / 0.5 / $$

All restaurants on the 3rd floor:

- 73(3.30) Aug 18 / Gerry's Grill (Filipino) (see 5.225 Pinakbet) / 2.0 / $$

Previously covered restaurants on the 4th floor:

- 75(4.01) Aug 26 / Pancake House (American/Filipino) (see 5.233 Best Taco in Town x 2) (Mexican)  / 2.5 / $$
- 76(4.02) Aug 27 / Karate Kid (Japanese/American) (see 5.234 Beef Teriyaki Bento) (Japanese) / 2.25 / $
- 77(4.03) Aug 28 / Max's Restaurant (Filipino) (see 5.235 Fried Chicken) / 2.75 / $$

The dreaded food court lurks underneath.

Chowking is a Chinese fast-food restaurant chain.  Founded in 1985 in the Philippines.  Over 400 locations through the Philippines, as well as 19 in the US, 2 in Indonesia, 20 in UAE (really?), and 2 in Oman (really?).  Limited menu, just a couple rice dishes, noodle dishes, dumplings, and "Chinese-Style" fried chicken.  Usually packed with customers, another place that amazes me to see what Filipinos are willing to wait in line for.


Very un-Filipino, such meager menu offerings. 

Point-of-sale marketing, I tried to get this, but they were sold out for the day.

The fried chicken was surprisingly good.  While I was waiting in line, the fried chicken going out to other customers didn't look that great, all dried out like it'd been sitting around for hours, but it still looked better than the other crap going out, so I ordered it anyway.  Fortunately, I got a piece from a fresh batch, glistening on the outside, juicy inside.  In terms of taste, however, nothing about it was Chinese--except maybe the vaguely Chinese-ish fried rice and crackers that came as part of the set meal--typical American-style breading/seasoning, served with gravy in the typical Filipino style, but okay whatever.  Could've been worse.

5.235 TERRP 77(4.03) Max's Restaurant: Fried Chicken

-Cycle 5, Item 235-
28 (Thu) August 2014

-Filipino-
Fried Chicken

2.75

Max's (Robinsons Place)

-Ermita, Manila-

with various Korean WHO WPRO staff

TERRP (Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place), Phase 4.

In Manila since January, here through October under the current contract, living above Robinsons Place, I've been eating my way through the mall.  As far as I know, nobody has ever done anything like this, my unique contribution to the city's food/blog scene.  I've tried all the restaurants on the 1st floor (currently 36, down from the initial 40), the 2nd floor (currently 8, down from the initial 14), and the 3rd floor (currently 30).  And finally, to finish out this godforsaken project, I'm now on the 4th floor (currently 11).  After tonight, 8 more to go--the home stretch--I can taste the end.


This is the 77th in the series, the 3rd on the 4th floor.  Padre Faure Wing.

All restaurants on the 1st floor:

- 39(1.36) Apr 2 / Cabalen (Filipino) (see 5.087 Buffet Scraps) / 1.5 / $$

All restaurants on the 2nd floor:

- 74(2.08) Aug 19 / Jack's Loft (Western) (see 5.226 Calamares Caesar) (Italian) / 0.5 / $$

All restaurants on the 3rd floor:

- 73(3.30) Aug 18 / Gerry's Grill (Filipino) (see 5.225 Pinakbet) / 2.0 / $$

Previously covered restaurants on the 4th floor:

- 75(4.01) Aug 26 / Pancake House (American/Filipino) (see 5.233 Best Taco in Town x 2) (Mexican)  / 2.5 / $$
- 76(4.02) Aug 27 / Karate Kid (Japanese/American) (see 5.234 Beef Teriyaki Bento) (Japanese) / 2.25 / $


Max's Restaurant is a Filipino restaurant chain.  Founded in 1945 by Maximo Gimenez.  Founded in the Philippines.  Currently over 70 branches in the Philippines, as well as 9 in the US and 3 in Canada.  While offering many Filipino classics, the signature dish is fried chicken--the corporate slogan is "The House that Fried Chicken Built"--according to the website, founder Maximo Gimenez developed a recipe for fried chicken that became popular among American occupation troops stationed in Quezon City after WWII, eventually spreading to the locals.

From what I've observed during my time here, I'd say that the three most iconic Filipino restaurant chains are, in no particular order, Aristocrat (see generally 4.262 An Aristocratic Feast for One),  Jollibee (see most recently 5.071 Garlic Bangus), and Max's Restaurant.


The fried chicken is good.  Unlike typical fast-food fried chicken, Max's version is not breaded and cooked whole.  Light yet crispy skin--reminds me of the rotisserie chicken at Yeongyang Center in Korea (see generally 1.046 Tong Dak).  Simply seasoned, served with gravy, chili sauce, and some kind of adobo-ish soy/garlic/vinegar.  However, despite the server's recommendation that the spring bird would be juicier than the regular or family, it was still a bit dry.  Still, a very respectable dish overall.

pancit canton (2.0)

chop suey (3.0)

stuffed tofu adobo (1.25)

lomi (1.75)

5.234 TERRP 76(4.02) Karate Kid: Teriyaki Beef Bento

-Cycle 5, Item 234-
27 (Wed) August 2014

-Japanese-
Teriyaki Beef Bento

2.25

Karate Kid (Robinsons Place)

-Ermita, Manila-

solo

TERRP (Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place), Phase 4.

In Manila since January, here through October under the current contract, living above Robinsons Place, I've been eating my way through the mall.  As far as I know, nobody has ever done anything like this, my unique contribution to the city's food/blog scene.  I've tried all the restaurants on the 1st floor (currently 36, down from the initial 40), the 2nd floor (currently 8, down from the initial 14), and the 3rd floor (currently 30).  And finally, to finish out this godforsaken project, I'm now on the 4th floor (currently 11).  After tonight, 9 more to go--the home stretch--I can taste the end.


This is the 76th in the series, the 2nd on the 4th floor.  Padre Faure Wing.

All restaurants on the 1st floor:

- 39(1.36) Apr 2 / Cabalen (Filipino) (see 5.087 Buffet Scraps) / 1.5 / $$

All restaurants on the 2nd floor:

- 74(2.08) Aug 19 / Jack's Loft (Western) (see 5.226 Calamares Caesar) (Italian) / 0.5 / $$

All restaurants on the 3rd floor:

- 73(3.30) Aug 18 / Gerry's Grill (Filipino) (see 5.225 Pinakbet) / 2.0 / $$

Previously covered restaurants on the 4th floor:

- 75(4.01) Aug 26 / Pancake House (American/Filipino) (see 5.233 Best Taco in Town x 2) (Mexican)  / 2.5 / $$

YUM!

Karate Kid is a Japanese restaurant chain.  Founded in 2002.  Founded in the Philippines.  First location in Robinsons Place, currently with over 20 locations throughout the country, mostly in malls.  Offers quick-fix Japanese standards, as well as burgers and pastas in a "Japanese-American Fusion concept."  Owned by the same company that operates CafeFrance (see generally 5.057 Hefty Fish & Potato Wedges).

Point-of-sale marketing.

I thought about getting this, just so the name of this post could be "Super Chop," but I didn't feel like eating so much fried chicken by myself (also, many fried chicken meals ahead).

The food was okay.  Well, the beef and bean sprouts were pretty good.  The noodles were meh.  The gyoza was crap.  So, on average, the meal was okay.

5.233 TERRP 75(4.01) Pancake House: Best Taco in Town x 2

-Cycle 5, Item 233-
26 (Tue) August 2014

-Mexican-
Best Taco in Town x 2

2.5

from Pancake House (Robinsons Place)

in my apartment

-Ermita, Manila-

solo

TERRP (Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place), Phase 4.

In Manila since January, here through October under the current contract, living above Robinsons Place, I've been eating my way through the mall.  As far as I know, nobody has ever done anything like this, my unique contribution to the city's food/blog scene.  I've tried all the restaurants on the 1st floor (currently 36, down from the initial 40), the 2nd floor (currently 8, down from the initial 14), and the 3rd floor (currently 30).  And finally, to finish out this godforsaken project, I'm now on the 4th floor (currently 11).  After tonight, 10 more to go--the home stretch--I can taste the end.


This is the 75th in the series, the 1st on the 4th floor.  Padre Faure Wing.

All restaurants on the 1st floor:

- 39(1.36) Apr 2 / Cabalen (Filipino) (see 5.087 Buffet Scraps) / 1.5 / $$

All restaurants on the 2nd floor:

- 74(2.08) Aug 19 / Jack's Loft (Western) (see 5.226 Calamares Caesar) (Italian) / 0.5 / $$

All restaurants on the 3rd floor:

- 73(3.30) Aug 18 / Gerry's Grill (Filipino) (see 5.225 Pinakbet) / 2.0 / $$


Pancake House is an American/Filipino restaurant chain.  Founded in 1970.  Currently over 20 locations throughout the Philippines, 2 in Malaysia.  Originally started as a pancake/waffle joint, the menu has since expanded to include various main dishes, some American, others Filipino.  Part of a growing restaurant family that also owns Teriyaki Boy (see generally 5.207 Teriyaki Boy Chicken Ju).

I can't recall the last time that I ate pancakes, probably back in elementary school.

With English being an official language of the Philippines--in fact, anything official, such as government documents, laws, school textbooks, are written exclusively in English--commercial copy tends to be very well drafted, sounding very natively American.

Case in point: "South of the Border"--cultural and linguistic affinities aside, the Philippines sometimes forgets that it's not actually the USA.

The Best Taco in Town--the only taco in town*--was okay.  In the classic Taco Bell style--even the Mexican food here is more American--crispy shell, ground beef, shredded cheese and lettuce, minced tomato and onion.  I doubt that I'd ever go back for more, but wouldn't mind if I were forced to.

*Come to think of it, Mexican food is very rare in the Philippines.  Which is odd not only because of the recent American influence but also the prior Spanish colonization, which was administered via Mexico.   There had been a burrito joint on the 2nd floor of the mall, but it shut down before I got to it.  No other Mexican restaurants anywhere nearby.  

 Nifty holder for takeout.

Forgot to add the tomato and onion until the second taco--much better with.

5.232 Woo Samgyup

-Cycle 5, Item 232-
25 (Mon) August 2014

-Korean-
Woo Samgyup

3.25

at Bornga

-Makati-

with JH Bae, KH Lee

Bon-Ga (본가) was once our family's go-to neighborhood restaurant back home in Oksu.  Indeed, it's the site of the blog's very first post (see generally 1.001 Grilled Pork Galbi).  Over the years, however, we frequented the place less and less, until eventually we stopped altogether (see most recently 4.095 Grilled Woo Samgyeop + Samgyeopsal).  Sadly, the Oksu branch has since shut down.

All that time, I hadn't realized that the chain, which currently has 41 locations throughout Korea, has 20 branches overseas, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and now the Philippines.  Apparently, the official English spelling is "Bornga."*  The Philippines branch is located in Makati, Alphaland Makati Place Mall, on the corner of Ayala Avenue and Malugay Street.  Opened January 2014.   


*Don't know why, but Koreans sometimes insist on adding an "r" or "l" to transliterations of certain Korean words into English, even though the sound isn't part of the word when written or pronounced in Korean.  For example, I met a guy with the same last name as me, but he spelled it "Halm;" when I asked him why the "l," he replied that "Harm" would be weird [Lisa, you know who I'm talking about, right?].  

On the surface, everything about the place is quite slick--best-looking menu that I've seen anywhere in the Philippines--making me think that it had no official connection to the chain in Korea, which tends to be much more down-to-earth, at least the locations that I've been to.   

None of this explains what woo samgyup is.

This kind of thing could actually be helpful, but it would need to cover everything on the table, not just the self-explanatory items, like "special vegetables."

 No, it does not cook the moment that it hits the pan.

I've never heard that rolling meat with vegetables symbolizes eating lucks (why is "eating" in quotation marks?).

The food was very good.  For starters, the "special vegetables" comprised the freshest, most vibrant spread of greens that I've encountered anywhere in the Philippines, maybe even better than the spread at the Oksu branch (see for example 3.273 Ssam Bap Jeongsik).  The meat, both the woo samgyup and the unmarinated short ribs, were excellent, tender and flavorful, probably the best Korean-style beef that I've experienced anywhere in the Philippines.  The ssamjang was respectable.  The other dishes that we ordered, as well as the complimentary sides, were somewhat mediocre, but decent enough not to detract from the rest.  For Korean BBQ, this is the place to beat.

**Yoree remains on top for Korean cuisine overall (see generally 5.040 Course Dinner).

"special vegetables"

"radish dish"

"watery kimchi"

haemul ssamjang (3.0)


pa jeon (2.0)

 unmarinated short ribs (3.25)

Even if thin, the woo samgyup still takes at least a full minute to cook to a proper crisp.